Maybe It's Not A Good Idea To Post Your Weed Pics On Instagram

By May Wilkerson 01/27/16

Posting that killer bong rip online could lead to unintended consequences.


You may want to think twice before you post that photo of taking a giant bong rip on Instagram with some cute weed-themed hashtags. The popular photo-sharing site is not a law-free zone, experts warn.

Though marijuana is now legal for recreational use in a growing number of states, Instagram is reportedly trying to have pot-themed pics removed. Instagram guidelines prohibit users from posting “unlawful” content, but weed pics have become so prevalent that the site is having a hard time policing them.

The DEA is not above using sites like Instagram to target law-breakers. “No persons should be posting pictures of themselves smoking pot and using pot-themed hashtags to attract fans and ‘likes’ in any state,” said DEA agent Patricia D’Orsa-Dijamco. “Even though 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states have legalized recreational marijuana, marijuana remains illegal federally.”

For users who share pictures of illicit activity, the consequences vary from state to state. But in states with harsher marijuana laws, “a photograph of someone smoking weed documents a possession felony,” said social media strategist Shannon Self.

In Arizona, for example, just posting a pic of someone smoking a joint could be penalized with a fine of $150,000 and land you in jail for up to 18 months. “People who post pictures of themselves could potentially face criminal charges,” said D’Orsa-Dijamco. “Although, as an investigator, I would like to obtain additional evidence to support the illegal activity before I present the case to a prosecutor.”

Beyond the legal risk, posting drug-themed pics on the Internet can have personal or professional consequences, especially in a time when employers tend to check the online trail of potential hires. “One minimizes their potential employment and earning capacity which may, in the end, affect their life,” said D’Orsa-Dijamco. “In addition, for instance: in a child custody battle, the pictures of anyone conducting any illegal activity or questionable moral turpitude could affect the outcome of custody.”

So it’s probably safest to keep your drug use off the Internet for now, even if you found the perfect filter for that blunt-smoking selfie.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.